The King of Birds: Predator of the Island, white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) seen on Rambut Island on Sunday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Birdwatching on Rambut Island

BY :YUDHA BASKORO

AUGUST 09, 2019

Day trippers from Jakarta visit Tidung Island, Pramuka Island, Air Island, Pari Island or Onrust Island in the Thousand Islands mini-archipelago for a brief respite from the hurly-burly of the capital: a bit of sightseeing, an hour or two of snorkeling, several gigabytes of selfies on perfectly rustic Instragrammable spots. 

The anoraks among them visit Rambut Island for something that requires more dedication, effort and an eagle eye: birdwatching. 

Rambut Island is a bird conservation where mostly water birds live freely in 90 hectares of uninhabited area. The island has been used as a wildlife reserve by the Forestry and Environment Ministry since 1999. 

It only takes around 30 minutes from Marina Ancol and 90 minutes from Muara Angke to reach Rambut Island when the weather is good. 

Birdwatching is the main tourist attraction on the island, also known as The Kingdom of the Birds. "People usually come to Rambut to photograph the birds, sometimes for research, most of the times, that's their hobby," said Budi Kusuma Wardana, a forestry expert from the Jakarta Natural Resources Conservation Center.

There are 22 species of water birds and 39 species of terrestrial birds on the island. The more common ones are the bangau bluwok (milky stork, Mycteria cineria), cangak merah (purple heron, Ardea purpurea), cangak abu (grey heron, Ardea cinerea) and kepodang (black-naped oriole, Oriolus chinensis). 

The rarest species is a cousin of the red-backed bald eagle, the official mascot of Jakarta, elang laut (sea eagle, Haliaeetus). The sea eagles are rare since only a small number of them can live in one ecosystem. Being a predator, an adult sea eagle will fight for territory with his own father and hunt him down.

Even though it is open for public, visitors need to get a permit from the conservation center to explore the whole island and do birdwatching on a 20-meter tower in the middle of the island.

If you want to take photos of the birds on Rambut Island, bring a telephoto lens and a monopod. Wear long-sleeved shirts and boots to avoid insect bites.

The best time to visit Rambut Island is between March and September as that's when the birds migrate back to their kingdom.

A welcoming monument shows all water birds species that live on Rambut Island (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A stone monument shows all the extant water birds on Rambut Island. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Budi Kusuma Wardana, a forest expert from the Jakarta Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) during exploration at Rambut Island in Kepulauan Seribu on Sunday (28/07) (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Budi Kusuma Wardana, Jakarta Natural Resources Conservation Center's forestry expert. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Jakarta Globe photographer, Yudha Baskoro uses Canon EOS 1D X Mark II and Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM during birdwatching in Rambut Island on Sunday (28/07) (JG Photo)
The ideal gear for birdwatching: Canon EOS 1D X Mark II and Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM from Canon Datascrip Indonesia. (JG Photo)
Cangak Abu (Ardea cinerea) flies at Pulau Rambut ecosystem (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The cangak abu flies among the mangroves on Rambut Island. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Cangak Abu (Ardea cinerea) during its soaring position (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The cangak abu soars into the sky. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The milky stork (bangau bluwok/Mycteria cineria), purple heron (cangak merah/Ardea purpurea), grey heron (cangak abu/Ardea cinerea) perch at pohon kepuh (Sterculia poetida) in Rambut Island, Kepulauan Seribu on Sunday (28/07) (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Cangak merah (purple heron) and cangak abu (grey heron) perch on a kepuh tree. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The milky stork (bangau bluwok/Mycteria cineria) seen flies in soaring position (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A cangak abu in full flight. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A seagull seen flies through the sunset with fish on its peak at Kepulauan Seribu (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A seagull with fish in its beak flies across a majestic sunset. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

 

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